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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

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delivered to the Soviets3* the latter would have achieved very little in the
realms of war. It is true to say that the Red Army marched from the
Volga to Europe in British boots and was fed on American corned beef.
These Allied supplies., however., were still insufficient to tip the scales
of war on the Eastern front, but the rapid growth of the Anglo-American
forces and their use on the fringe of the German occupation^ the formation
of new war fronts in the Mediterranean^ necessitating the dispatch of
extra German forces, did greatly alleviate the task of the Red Army and
permit it to reconquer the occupied Russian provinces. To ensure the
complete defeat of Germany., however, the engagement of the Anglo-
Saxon's main land forces in Europe itself was essential.
Stalin's intention of keeping the Soviet Union outside the war as long
as possible or, at least, until Germany had exhausted both herself and
her opponents' forces, had proved unsuccessful. He lost the first round
when Hitler attacked Russia and not Great Britain. It was not Russia
after all, who watched the mortal struggle of the c opposite centre * of the
world but,, on the contrary, it was this c opposite centre ' who was looking
from across the water at the struggle of the Soviet Union. And, further-
more, Stalin was to lose the second round when it became evident that
the Red Army could not win the war alone, that the presence of the Allied
forces in Europe was unavoidable if a victory was to be achieved. At
that moment the Red Army would not, after all, stand in Germany alone,
as the Kremlin intended, but with the Allied forces backed by the greatest
industry in the world.
It was clear that in the long run Stalin would have to throw away many
of his tramp cards. His chances of winning the game as the final victor
were gradually decreasing. Russian losses through famines and epi-
demics, much greater even than on the battlefield itself, had proved
enormous. They were already reckoned to be over one-fifth of the total
population . . . The bulk of the best man-power had perished. The
Germans had destroyed the most valuable provinces and., limited and
insufficient as it was, Russian food and goods production had received a
blow from which the country would not be able to recover for some years.
For the time being the Kremlin, by its supreme military effort, was
pressing the German armies hard, while the Allies were standing by
admiring her effort, praise which filled the Kremlin leaders with helpless
rage. For the two previous years, the Soviet Union had stood in the role
of spectator, yet it now considered the Anglo-Saxon Powers were taking
too long over gathering their forces for the invasion of Europe and were,
in the opinion of the Kremlin, waiting for that moment when Germany,
reeling under Russian blows, would beg for quarter. Every reason which
* Russia had nothing to give in exchange. Churchill returned an evasive
answer when questioned on this point in the House of Commons at the beginning
of 19443 saying: " the ships which carried the goods to the Soviet Union returned
loaded with whatever was in the ports." But there was nothing to take from these
ports except,, perhaps, timber from Archangel.